Hello, 2018! Happy New Year to everyone and I hope you spent New Year’s Eve with people you adore. Mine was lovely, quiet but fun. I loved every minute of my break and now I throw myself into the new year with renewed energy.
The first post of the year is all about beauty myths that in this day and age we should stop believing once and for all. I still hear some of these every day from clients partly due to the fact that big companies are still using them to sell products and these old wive’s tales are so deeply rooted in our minds that they are hard to weed out.
Here is my top 5:
1. Pores can open and close
You don’t have to go back in time to see that even big brands are claiming you can use certain products to close/get rid of pores. Only recently I have seen a The Bodyshop tutorial that recommends a skincare step for ‘closing the pores’. What can we do when even big companies use myths to sell their products? I say trust independent skincare authorities who know what they are talking about and they don’t have it in their interest to sell myths. Caroline Hirons (third generation beauty expert), Nadine Baggott (beauty journalist for twenty years with a degree in biochemistry) are good examples and I always go to their blogs, videos if I have questions myself.
Let’s put this to rest once and for all: pores don’t open or close and you can’t get rid of them. Pores are not driven by a muscle, they are there to excrete sweat and sebum onto the surface of the skin to keep up the healthy balance of the skin. Pores can, however, be larger due to excess oil production, that’s why they are more visible on oily skin types. They can also loosen up over time if you don’t keep them clean and protect them with SPF. There is Collagen at the bottom of those pores and if the Sun gets in, it breaks it down so the skin will lose its elasticity making pores looser and wider.
The good news is, you can make pores look less obvious (no, not with nose strips) and here is how: cleanse properly with a high quality cleanser morning (a light cream of gel formula is enough here) and night (double cleanse with a balm and cream), exfoliate regularly preferaby with an AHA/BHA blend containing Glycolic Acid or Lactic Acid that helps to get rid of dead skin cells on the surface of the skin and Salicylic Acid that keeps those pores clean and bacteria-free (so you don’t get blackheads which makes pores look larger), you can also use products with Niacinamide in to support the elasticity of the skin, use SPF during the day every day and last but not least you can use a blurring primer before applying makeup. If you feel you need more than that, chemical peels, IPL Photofacials, Fractional Laser treatments, Photodynamic Therapies are available depending on the case.
2. You don’t need SPF when the sun is not out
I think if you are spending time outside you still do. Think of it as a contribution towards your skin health, not to talk about the fact that SPF is one of the best ‘anti-ageing’ products you can get. Even if it’s not sunny those rays pass through the clouds and can do damage. UV rays cause the skin to burn and damage cellular DNA. To avoid that, it’s best to wear an SPF all through the year. Using SPF can get quite complicated, especially when you are wearing makeup so here is Caroline Hirons’ Cheat Sheet on SPF and Lab Muffin Beauty Science’s video on how to wear sun protection. I don’t think I could ever explain it any better than these two ladies.
3. Cleansing wipes/cleansing water are good alternatives for proper cleansing.
I always say to my clients that proper cleansing is simply the best thing they do for their skin. Quite often though the problem seems to be that the market is flooded with so many cleansers they are not aware of ones that are the most beneficial for their skin. I have seen so many of them using wipes or cleansing water just to be quick (or so they believe) and they are wondering why their skin is getting dryer. Most wipes are loaded with alcohol and preservatives (to keep those wipes sitting on the shelves wet for a long time you need a lot), they don’t do much for your skin, maybe only move dirt and makeup around the face but won’t get rid of them completely. While I have nothing against Micellar water cleansers, they are very handy for quick makeup removal, I wouldn’t use them on their own, or without rinsing because, as wipes, they contain ingredients that dry the skin.
There are great, even budget solutions for cleansing and if you already use a good cream cleanser morning and night, you are on the right track. Starting your AM routine you can use a lighter cream, gel, milk or clay-based cleanser just to make sure you get rid of night-time products, excess oil, dead skin cells that formed overnight. A PM routine, in my opinion, should be a bit more ‘hearty’ starting with a good balm cleanser to get rid of all makeup, SPF, dirt (alternatively you can remove your makeup with a micellar water but still do a balm cleanse after that) and then go in with a nourishing lighter cream, gel, milk or clay-based cleanser just to make sure that your skin is clean and fully prepped for your PM routine.
4. Natural is better, safer than chemical
There’s still a lot of confusion around ‘natural’ products. The term is still not regulated enough by the beauty industry so anyone can claim a product is ‘natural’ and convince the public that it is better, even safer than the man-made ones. A big brand can create catchy marketing lines and hijack scientific facts all they want, natural is not necessarily better or safer for you. Everything in nature is made up of chemicals, even water so the argument of chemicals being bad for you and they are toxic is flawed the same way as saying that natural is definitely better for you since some essential oils can be irritants and some plants in nature can be downright toxic. Again, let me leave this brilliant video here by Lab Muffin Beauty Science, she explains it so well, I can’t praise her enough for it:
5. ‘Hypoallergenic’ products are safe
‘Hypoallergenic’ is one of those fancy ‘It’ words that are still making the rounds within the beauty industry, though I have to say, I noticed, companies are using it less and less. If a product is labelled as ‘hypoallergenic’ it means that it should be trusted and it guarantees that you are less likely to have a reaction to the ingredients. Since everyone’s skin is so different, I still believe that none of the companies out there can guarantee such a thing. Back in the day when Clinique was the creme de la creme of the skincare world with their three-step regime maybe it helped to get the public’s trust but at this day and age, it doesn’t mean much. Even if these products are less likely to cause a reaction, they can still so I don’t see the point of using the word at all. The same goes for the much loved ‘dermatologically tested’ label.
My approach is: try not to go for fancy labels, beauty ‘It’ words or age restrictions, always choose products according to your skincare concerns and check the ingredient list. There are so many helpful blogs around, with only a little effort you can quickly get the information you need.